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 Monorail Dolly Zoom 
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Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:49 pm
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Post Monorail Dolly Zoom
Okay, this has taken me WAY too long. Those of you who remember how my dolly was set up previously will notice some changes. I abandoned the dolly car that I built, and started over from scratch. The old one was too wobbly. I opted for using teflon sliding bearings in the DP fashion, and eliminated the rack gears in favor of a timing belt drive.

Currently I have it configured for the elusive "dolly zoom" shot that I've been wanting to do for years. Here's a few test videos to show you what I mean.

These shots are pretty much straight from the camera, meaning no motion tracking or anything:


This video I had to motion track the first two shots, because the ground was uneven:


The rig is using 3 stepper motors running from a 12v battery and controlled by arduino. The code was very generously written for this application by Dan Thompson.

Heres the rig in action. The reason it is so tall is to keep the track out of the frame. My goal was to make the car itself as compact as possible. If you look, the upper portion that is holding the camera and the vertical supports will unbolt when I'm not doing DZ shots. The car and gearbox together are only 5" long, 3" wide, and 5" tall. I did not intend for the 12v battery to ride along, but it happened to fit perfectly in that spot so I figured what the heck.

For all of the above shots, The dolly car travels 52", zoom from 28 to 70mm and the focus from 3.5' to 8'.

Image
Image


The timing belt enters and exits the box around these bearings, the blue parts are plastic spacers.
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Top-down view of the gear box. The stepper is mounted to a pivoting plate, so that I can pivot the motor and worm shaft off the gears and slide the dolly freely. I was originally going to make it spring loaded, but that didn't work out so I just run a screw in place to hold the shaft in position.
Image


Here's some closeups of the focus and zoom steppers, running the worm gears. The slots in the plate have teflon inserts to help guide the large gears.
Image
Image

My workmanship isn't the prettiest, but this is months worth of squeezing time out of my lunch breaks at work, so everything was a bit rushed. I also don't have access to CNC equipment so all parts were made on a manual mill and lathe.

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Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:10 am
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
Most outstanding! Looks like you nailed it! Great job!

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Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:42 am
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
so that is what you were shooting down on the waterfront - I was tempted to stroll on down there (when I saw the still you posted) as I work 9 blocks away. looks good - you should try that on the road that is under the hawthorne bridge on ramp (on the east side) - I had a buddy that shot there once with a video camera doing the same effect and it was mind blowing, of course adding time lapse is taking it to the next level - great job

timt


Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:00 pm
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
Great stuff!
Good to see you getting it all together. It was worth the wait.

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Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:35 pm
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
Alfred Hitchcock would be proud!
Indeed you've nailed the 'Vertigo' effect.


Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:30 pm
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
Excellent work! I love the effect. That system really opens up a ton of shooting possibilities.

How much would a setup like that cost to produce?


Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:17 am
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Location: Amelia Island, Florida
Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
I've watched both movies a dozen times. What my eyes are seeing doesn't compute with my brain. That's definitely a very interesting move. Like Matt said, Alfred would be proud ;)


Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:51 am
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
Bravo!


Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:26 am
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
Excellent work!! Have you tried this setup to control a vari-nd filter?

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Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:27 am
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
Thanks for the kind words, guys.

@Scorchio- wayyyy too much! I hope that openmoco/DP can support this kind of thing in the future.

@Spencer, I haven't tried that, but it could be done very easily.

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Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:01 pm
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
how did you manage to get the focus to zoom timing correct so the subject does not scale or move? excellent work and the rig looks great. love the gear setup

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Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:28 pm
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
peppino wrote:
how did you manage to get the focus to zoom timing correct so the subject does not scale or move? excellent work and the rig looks great. love the gear setup


It's not perfect, in fact I decided that having the subject move just a little but is more interesting than it being totally still. Dan's code gave me a speed setting and a value for how many steps per motor. By trial and error, I figured out how far each motor needed to travel and at what speed for a given subject to lens distance. Then when I'm out in the field I just use a tape measure to set the distance, and I'm ready to go.

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Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:54 am
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
woohoohoo! loving it!!!
have thought about vertigo timelapse shots for months,
but it seemed simply out of reach..lots of reeeespect for your work :)
others may think differently..for me the vertigo shot was the holy grail of timelapsing!
congrats!!


Wed May 04, 2011 11:41 am
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
That is amazing. I don't think this has been done before in a time lapse. Reminds me of the diner scene in Goodfellas.


Thu May 05, 2011 5:33 pm
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
Well I don't want to brag but it could possibly be the first time it's been done (timelapsed) in a controlled setting. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I still have a lot of work to do, the rig is a pain to use right now, and in it's current state I can't really use it as a regular dolly without a lot of work. I'm also pretty limited with the one lens, so finding shots suitable for it is kind of hard. I'd like to try a wider lens in the future.

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Sat May 07, 2011 5:24 pm
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
dang a historic moment and I could have been there - next time you are shooting downtown I'll try and stop by and chat.

great job!

Tim T


Sat May 07, 2011 8:05 pm
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Location: Merritt Island, Florida, Estates Unitas
Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
I am in awe of your worm drive lens mover. Are you planning to produce these things to sell? I've had a direct drive version of a lens mover for a month or so. It uses a 1 RPM gearmotor which is faster than I would like. I'm waiting on some parts to arrive, then was going to make a worm drive version as well. Mine was going to use a factory made worm gearbox. Here's a link to the gearbox.

https://sdp-si.com/eStore/Direct.asp?GroupID=949

I'm curious about your worm drive. Do the big white gears on the lens have the teeth cut on a slight diagonal to mesh with the worm? Or will those worms mesh with a regular gear that has teeth perpendicular to the face of the gear? Where did you get the large worms and the large lens gears?

Here are some pictures of my direct drive lens movers. They can be configured for right or left hand drive by removing just one bolt. The big holes in the bracket slide onto a 15mm rail system like the JAG35 baseplate. I also used JAG35 D-gears as my lens gear. Placing individual lens movers on the rail system allows the spacing in between to be adjusted so they adapt to any lens. Three can be used to control zoom, focus and aperture.

Scorchio, prices for these should be around $450 to 500 if I go with direct drive, add $150 if I go with worm drive.


Sun May 08, 2011 5:46 am
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
I have no plans to ever make parts to sell. I've made a few things for folks on this board for trade purposes, but I don't have time for that anymore, which is why it's taken me 2 years to get this far.

They are actual worm gears, so they wouldn't work with a spur gear. Worm drive helps smooth out the movements, and is essential for a lot of things in my opinion. The gears were basically free, I almost threw them away without realizing: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=3133

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Sun May 08, 2011 9:45 am
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
Hi Andrew. I'm from Brazil. Great work! Do you think of selling Monorail Dolly Zoom? I am interested in buying one. Congratulations and success!


Sat May 14, 2011 6:43 pm
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
makes me dizzy watching those videos haha, that's awesome!! great work!


Tue May 17, 2011 5:53 pm
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
Literanema,
These lens movers can do the zoom. They are plug and play compatable with the Dynamic Perception MX-2 dolly engine. Get the dolly from Dynamic Perception and the dolly controller has a second motor plug that you can use for the lens mover.

These lens movers are rail mounted so you can adjust the position onthe lens barrel where they engage the lens gear so they can be used on different lenses instead of being built around one specific lens.


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Thu May 19, 2011 6:45 am
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
sciencelookers wrote:
Literanema,
These lens movers can do the zoom. They are plug and play compatable with the Dynamic Perception MX-2 dolly engine. Get the dolly from Dynamic Perception and the dolly controller has a second motor plug that you can use for the lens mover.

These lens movers are rail mounted so you can adjust the position onthe lens barrel where they engage the lens gear so they can be used on different lenses instead of being built around one specific lens.


where can i get my hands on some of these ?

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Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:27 am
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
You can get an even better one now. Here is a link to a commercial for the new lens mover.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KCrsz5k ... ature=plcp

You can PM me or send an email to Sciencelookers@aol.com
I am selling them through my paypal account for now on a one-off basis.


Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:49 am
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Post Re: Monorail Dolly Zoom
Absolutley love the result you get... have seen this done before (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ihkmmfg2 ... ure=relmfu :shock: by sciencelookers) but the demo was not as cool as yours. Well done!

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Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:26 pm
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